IT’S one of those strange ironies of life that you’ll often spend a small fortune travelling to sample the delights of some far flung places while nonchalantly ignoring the jewels on your own doorstep.
Take the World of Glass. The place is regularly hailed as among the best visitors attractions in the region.
I walk past this towering tribute to our town’s proud heritage. I often glaze admiringly at the stunning architecture of the building itself as I stroll past on my lunch break.
And I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve nodded approvingly while reading about the latest exhibition/attraction, and declared to myself that this time I really will make the effort to find out for myself what all the fuss is really about.
But have I ever been? Nope, never; not once. I’ve been the Blackpool, Alton Tower, the Manchester Museum and the Imperial War Museum. But travel the short distance to this glass-themed gem? While I always wanted to go, I just kept on putting it off.
So during the recent school holidays, I vowed to change all that.
On the way we took in another of those local landmarks I’ve never visited and strolled up to Dream for a picnic.
Then for the World of Glass itself.
First we treated to a unique glass painting session with an in-house artist. This simple, fun activity keep my four and six-year-old engrossed for almost 45 minutes and is well worth the admission fee alone.
Next we’re shown around the World of Glass’ stunning collection of local artifacts. Through a series of everyday historical objects, it tells the story of St Helens itself, from its earlier days as little more than a muddy crossroads to the thriving glass and coal-spawing monster it became in the industrial age.
Some of the highlights of the exhibition include a recreation of an Edwardian classroom, complete with dunce’s cap.
The exhibition is packed full of interesting information, enhanced by friendly and information guides who are always on hand.
Again, this is a real treat and with the admission fee alone.
The exit of the St Helens exhibition takes you out into the gift shop and, as you’d imagine, there’s an abundance of glass items for sale, prompting me to keep the kids on a short leash (not literally!) to avoid any costly breakages.
Next up is a look through the site’s old tunnels which once served in the old glass production unit and a look around the Godfrey Pilkington Art Gallery, which recently relocated from St Helens Central Library.
For many, the World of Glass is famous for its glass blowing exhibitions. They certainly steal the show while for out visit and keep both my two young children entranced throughout.
It’s a perfect ending to a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon, with plenty to keep the kids entertained and the adults enthralled.
And for those like me who’ve put off going to the World of Glass, thinking you’d someday get round to it, my message is clear: Don’t keep on delaying.
* The World of Glass is open six days a week. For more details call 01744 22766 or visit www.worldofglass.com